All ricotta begins with whey, which is a byproduct of making harder types of cheese. Fittingly, the word "ricotta" literally means "recooked" in Italian. The majority of ricotta sold in the States is the soft, fresh kind made from cow's milk whey. But for those willing to search, there are other worlds of ricotta to explore including ultra-rich ricotta di bufala (made with buffalo milk), aged ricotta forte, smoky ricotta affumicata, and the firm, lightly salted ricotta salata. In recent years, fresh ricotta has become a darling of the artisanal movement, with companies like Salvatore Bklyn in New York and Narragansett Creamery in Rhode Island creating high quality versions that are thicker, fresher, and fuller flavored than the usual store-bought kind. Home cooks have also started making it in their own kitchens.